Problems

  • Do You Use Kindle? January 19, 2016
    Book 1 of The Pray-ers, now on Kindle

    Book 1 of The Pray-ers, now on Kindle

    So? Do you read Kindle books?

    I am very excited to offer my new novel there. I don’t know the ins and outs to Kindle yet, but my understanding is that you can use this on OTHER devices, not just Kindle.

    Click HERE to download the book ($4.99).

    Blessings,

     

    Mark S Mirza
    C: 404-606-2322
    E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
    W: www.CTMPrayer.org
    W: www.ThePray-ers.com

  • The Breadth of God’s Love October 10, 2015

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    This last Thursday I gave the closing prayer at the Stand and Pray Georgia event at the State Capitol (www.standandpraygeorgia.com). There I reiterated what I believe that God has been saying to me since 2008, that revival will NOT occur in our land, UNTIL it occurs in Christian’s hearts, and that it isn’t occurring in our land, tells us that IT ISN’T occurring in our hearts.

    So let me ask a question: Does God love us enough to, metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed?” Before you say yes, consider what I saw this morning…

    This morning’s passage reminded me of the events of the last few days. No one doubts that God loves us right? But here’s the question, how much does He love us? In fact, how far is He willing to go to show us Godly Fatherly love? I was reminded of this while reading Joel 2:13. It was the last phrase of the verse that caught my eye afresh, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV)

    Here’s the context of the verse in the New American Standard:

    Return with All Your Heart
    12“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 14Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?

    From <http://biblehub.com/joel/2-13.htm>

    The end of verse 13 means that, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV) So, if He relents at sending calamity, or “relents from sending disaster.” (HCSB), then what does that tell you of His relationship to disaster? As hard as this may be to hear, it tells us that 2 Chronicles 7:13 is TRUE! That God sends natural disasters, things that badly impact our finances and pestilences upon our body.

    Now, this article isn’t long enough to discuss two questions that come up, 1) God sending things versus God allowing things in our lives; and 2) that verse 14 of Second Chronicles 7 ISN’T a prayer! 2 Chronicles 7:14 is what we are TO DO, BEFORE God will listen to us. Just look at verse 15 where He says, “NOW I will listen to what you have to say.” Here is the point of these two questions that I can’t get into, the authority of the Word. The Word HAS to be taken into account. Words have meaning, and so we cannot deny the clear wording of scripture, when we don’t like what they say.

    Moving on, I believe that the same Old Testament passages above, are told in Romans 1, where God says that because people choose to worship something other than Him (Romans 1:23,25) He turned them over to their lusts (Romans 1:24). But their guilt was not restricted to sexual disobedience. Look at verses 29-31:

    They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. (Romans 1:29-31)

    In the last half of Romans 1 God is against, SOMEBODY. So, who, or whom is He against? The answer is that God is “against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people” (Romans 1:18m). The rest of the verse then says what godlessness and unrighteousness in people causes. Namely, they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18e). I would say it this way, “the outcome of their godlessness and unrighteousness is that ‘by their unrighteousness [they] suppress the truth.'” Romans 1:18

    Stick with me now as I make this jump…

    Isn’t THIS the reason we need revival? We need revival IN OUR CHURCHES because the people OUTSIDE of the church that know us, our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. They know us, and our unrighteousness in front of them suppresses the truth of God!

    Let me say it this way, do those who are our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. who know us, who really know us, do they want our Jesus? By and large, NO! That is why we need revival, to revive US, you and I, in the church!

    And that is why God loves us enough to metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed” to get our attention, so that WE WILL CHANGE.

    Friends, our problems ARE NOT out yonder, they are right here, in your heart and mine.

     

    Mark S Mirza
    Founder/Speaker Common Thread Ministries
    Common Thread Logo

     

     

    BEFORE YOU CLOSE THIS POST. TAKE A LOOK BELOW AT MY LATEST BOOK:

    ThePrayersBook1BusCardsIt is a book that I wrote to teach prayer, but in the format of a “fun-read.” I hope that you’ll take the time to consider learning from Thales, the nephew of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12), Alexander Rich, an itinerant preacher and friend of D. L. Moody, and Dr. Dale Riley, a modern day coach and leader of his church’s men’s prayer ministry.

    I have “leaked” information from the book here in this SWAY that I have done for this book. Click here. I promise to add more “leaks.”

    To pre-purchase at significant savings, click here.

  • A Short Video on WORRY April 13, 2015

    If you are on FB, click on this 3 minute video where I speak on WORRY.

    I think it will be helpful:

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=817464088307847&set=vb.141546075899655&type=3&video_source=pages_video_set

    Mark S Mirza
    Common Thread Ministries

  • Problem Throwing August 26, 2014

    2014-0826Post

     

    SUBTITLE: When Life Throws You Problems

    Imagine that you’re 30,000 feet up in the air…in turbulence.

    I just read a post from a friend of mine that said, in part, “sometimes life throws you problems…” and I think we need to look, “gently critically” at this for a moment.

    God is sovereign (Psalm 103:19) and so NOTHING in your life happens outside of His providence. Remember Job? When you read the first two chapters of that book, you see that God actually prompts satan (not capitalized on purpose) to do what he does to Job. And remember 2 Chronicles 7:14? Well there’s a verse before it. In verse 13 God is speaking, He says, basically, “When I bring natural disasters, and when I bring those things that impact your finances, and when I bring illnesses…”

    These passages, and a lot more, cause me to look at problems that are “thrown” my way, a bit differently than just, “life throwing you problems.”

    You see, the one and only constant that I know is God. I trust Him. I know that He is sovereign. I know that His Son came that I might live life abundantly. I know that He has a plan for my life. I know that ANYTHING that happens in my life has gone thru His hands BEFORE it came to me.

    So, far from saying, as my friend did, later in her post, “just hang on…” Far from that, I am saying, because God is sovereign, “Thank You Lord, for this challenge. Thank You Lord for another opportunity for You to strengthen my faith muscle, and I get to watch You do it!”

    Now let me talk about my friend for a moment. I know her very well, and I KNOW that her idea was, AND IS, to be an encourager…BUT, even my “gifted encourager” friend can find herself focusing on the wrong point, namely, “that life has thrown you a problem.”

    No! The right perspective is, God is sovereign! He is doing something, “for the better” (Romans 8:28) in my life, THAT’S the right perspective…No offense to my friend, I hope.

     

    Mark S Mirza
    Mark@CTMPrayer.org
    @CTMPrayer
    www.CTMPrayer.org

    Common Thread Ministries

  • Praising God Amidst Brokenness July 15, 2014

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    This post is taken from
    a prayer of Paul’s that we often miss.
    The HCSB entitles this section of the chapter
    A HYMN OF PRAISE

    Romans 11:33-36 (NASB)
    “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

    Paul has just spent the previous 86 verses discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to the Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.

    APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…whether it be for your loved ones, or for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin that you have let get out of hand? Maybe it is something that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about? Believe me, praising God is so much bigger than we realize. It has a place in every one of these situations.

    By looking at Paul’s prayer can you tell where Paul received his comfort from? After 86 verses of lamenting, I think Paul puts down his pen and opens his heart to receiving comfort from God. And how does he receive it, this comfort? I believe that it is in Paul knowing the wisdom and knowledge of who God is, which Paul gained from spending time in His Word (remember verses like 2 Timothy 4:13). I believe that this allows Paul to see the depth of God’s riches. In recognizing afresh, all of this about God, Paul realizes that he doesn’t need to have all the answers, because God’s judgments (or decisions) are unfathomable to our finite brains. He acknowledged that no one can know the mind of God, and certainly, no one can “counsel” God or give Him advice. Verse 35 uses a phrase that in English comes out a bit awkward, Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? I think a better way to say this is, “Do you think you can give God something He would then be beholden to you over?” Paul finishes with basically saying, “Look, this is all about God!”

    So, recognizing that due to circumstances, any circumstances, you are broken. I want you to pray Paul’s prayer with me, using your own words where appropriate, and applying it to your brokenness. These verses (Romans 11:33-36), prayed, might sound something like this:

    Father, the wisdom and knowledge gained from Your Word confirms for me the depth of Your riches, and Lord, they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. So often I want to know and figure out Your mind, but thank You that not only can I not know Your mind, but no one can give You counsel. You know my situation Father, so much better than I do, there is nothing I can offer You that would cause You to owe me anything, and Lord, I do NOT want that responsibility. You are sovereign overall and Your throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19). I praise You that Your sovereignty means that all things, all circumstances, including this difficult one in my life, are not a surprise to You, it was seen by You first and authorized in Your personal plans for my life. And so without any hesitation, and with perfect trust I can say that this difficulty is from You, through You and unto Your Glory, forever and ever. Father, I do not understand my plight, but I thank You that You are in control. It is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, even in the midst of my difficulty, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need to give You “advice” about my situation for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to even think that You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You work all things out for the better (Romans 8:28), Amen and Amen.

     

    May I end with a couple of reminders?

    1. I’m not saying, “Don’t ask God to take away your difficulties.” It is natural to do that, and even Paul did…three times! I’m not saying that there is ANYTHING special about asking three times. Paul could have asked only one time, or ten times, or more. My point is this, at SOME TIME he stopped asking!
    2. Also, Philippians 4:6-7 gives us a “formula” if you will, to receive peace. It says, you come to the Lord with what? It says, “with prayer , petitions and thanksgivings…” The next time you are anxious about ANYTHING, would you seriously consider carrying a piece of paper with you, and start writing the things down that you can give thanks for, on behalf of your difficulty? You will be surprised the things the Lord lays on your heart.

    When I was in Kenya a couple of months ago a new friend of mine, stood up on the last day I was in her village. She said, “Last night, I was lying in bed, my leg was hurting and I started talking to God, ‘I said Lord, I don’t like what that Muzungu said, but I know it is in Your Word, so will You show me what I can give thanks for?'” She smiled and then her eyes teared up, and she said, “There were a thousand things I could give thanks for.”

    My friend, praise Him! Praise God that you can give thanks and praises for difficulties in your life. And friend, thank the Lord that I didn’t lecture on what the Bible says about the “benefits” that come from difficulties in our life. That is a whole other post!

    Mark S Mirza
    Common Thread Ministries
    Mark@CTMPrayer.org
    @CTMPrayer

    Common Thread Ministries

  • How to Use The Armor of God July 1, 2014

    ArmorGodTitlePic

     

    This week a friend of mine and I were talking about the Armor of God and his view was pretty typical of what I hear in churches. While I don’t “take exception” to the view I believe that the use of the Armor is much more effective when we change our understanding of what it is, and how, I believe, Paul expected it to be understood. Namely, I DO NOT believe that the Armor is something that we “do.” I believe that the Armor is what we have in Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life. I cannot claim originality on that statement, as a variation of it comes from RayStedman.org.

    Here’s the way most people describe the first three pieces of the Armor:

    The Belt of Truth has to do with acknowledging that the Bible is true. Let me make this real clear, okay, I ABSOLUTLEY believe that this is true, that the Bible is completely true, I just disagree that this is Paul’s meaning here.
    The Breastplate of Righteousness is our call to be righteous. Again, I completely agree with this statement on its own, I just do not believe that this is what Paul meant.
    Our Feet are Fitted with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace is our injunction to go out and share the gospel. Again, I fully believe that. But in the context of this piece of the Armor, I don’t think that Paul is saying this.

    So you get the point. Again, I don’t want to be disagreeable, I just want to share with you another way of viewing, and to me, a more effective way of using the Armor.

    One point of clarification (perhaps disagreement) that I need to make, has to do with the order of the Armor. I hear teachers explaining the Armor by beginning with the helmet and working their way down to the shoes, “Because it is an easy way to remember it.” But when we do that we take it out of the order that, I believe, is Holy Spirit inspired, and will directly affect its usefulness for you.

    So with all of that being said, this morning, as I was in the Word, I recognized a battle in my heart and mind beginning, and it had to do with purity of mind, purity of thoughts. What I will do below is first, give you what I believe each piece of the armor is, for us as Christians, and then my prayer this morning, putting on the Armor.

    But let me be clear, restating this point again. I do not believe that the armor is “something that we do” as each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life, which means that this (these facets, this Armor) is “what I have in Christ.” In fact, this keeps in sync with the book of Ephesians where the first half of Ephesians is what we already have in Christ, and the second half of Ephesians is how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. The Armor is broken down the same way. The first three pieces are what we already have in Christ and the second three are how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. Another time we can look at the verbs, but do note, that the verb describing the first three pieces of the armor is “having” meaning this is something that you ALREADY have. So when Paul was saying “Put on the Armor” he was NOT SAYING put on something that you do not have on. Again, this discussion is for another time as it is outside the scope of this post.

    I want to give you short, to the point statement for each of the pieces of the armor. And then afterward I will give you my entire prayer as I put on the Armor, and in the process, dealt with the attack of satan (not capitalized by personal preference).

    Belt of Truth
    “You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust.”
    Breastplate of Righteousness
    “You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done.”
    Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
    “You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.”
    Shield of Faith
    “You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart.”
    Helmet of Salvation
    “You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad.”
    Sword of the Spirit
    “You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in.”

    —————————————————————–

    And here is the full text of my prayer this morning (including my journaling tags) as I put on each piece of the Armor:

    7/1/2014, in prayer, As I submit myself to You (James 4:7) Lord, what the Armor represents to me is my confidence in You, as I specifically deal with purity of my mind today.

    Belt of Truth
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust, and not me.”
    Breastplate of Righteousness
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done. What Your Son did 2000 years ago.”
    Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.
    “And Ohhh Lord, I have received such great peace from You just now. I trust You for the grace today Lord, to make sure that when I do not have peace, I realize that it is because I have strayed from focusing on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Oh Lord, thank You, that even now, You have given me that peace as You always do.
    Shield of Faith
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart. I trust You to do something different with my brain, by having those distractions of the evil one, by Your Shield, and in faith, be my motivation for returning to You in prayer. I also trust that I will never know all of the fiery darts that came my way, because You stopped them.
    Helmet of Salvation
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad. Oh I praise You Lord for this peace and confidence, and excitement for this day. Praise You Lord!”
    Sword of the Spirit
    7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in. Paul calls them the Words of Christ (Romans 10:17). Lord because they are Your words I have been able to trust in them. It is Your words that I’ve been able to have confidence in. It is Your words, your Nuggets, that have guided me in this time of prayer. Thank you for the Sword of the Spirit, Your words Lord.

    By the way my friend, satan fled around the end of my prayer regarding the shoes of peace, but I recognize, only for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13) which is why I need to be vigilant, knowing that the roaring lion is just waiting to eat me alive (1 Peter 5:8). I wrote the part of this paragraph that precedes this sentence in the middle of my praying on the armor. Now that I’m done, I can report that the evil one returned a few times, but in each case, he fled again each time I submitted to God. And I submitted to God by taking those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and by not giving them a place (Ephesians 4:27). One could also say, that my mind became renewed (Romans 12:2), from where satan wanted it to go, as I focused on the things of the Spirit, rather than the flesh (Romans 8:6). And what was, and is the result…Peace baby, peace!

    And according to Romans 8:6, and the whole record of Scripture, that is EXACTLY as it should be. Focusing on the things of the Spirit, rather than the difficulties that the world the flesh and the devil throw my way give me life and PEACE, praise the Lord! And how is all of it “activated?” By my deeds? No! By faith (1 John 5:4). By faith in what I ALREADY have in Christ.

    I hope this has been helpful to you. I do apologize for its length though.

    Mark S Mirza
    www.CTMPrayer.org
    @CTMPrayer

    Common Thread Ministries

  • Happy Birthday Wish-2014 March 7, 2014

    As I write this post on my birthday, there are a lot of ideas that come to my mind to focus on, but I keep coming back to the same one, me, being a poor steward of my time.
    Many of you have heard me speak, and by God’s grace, and His Holy Spirit, you have been blessed, but I keep wanting to challenge myself, appropriately I think, regarding stewardship of my time.

    Huh, “my time,” what an oxymoronic set of words that is!

    I turned 56 today…56…and what do I have to show for it? What do you have to show for whatever age you are? I’m not asking about possessions, familial or otherwise. Spiritually, what do you have to show for your age, not your seminary degrees or your position at your church, but rather, your intimacy with our Lord?

    I don’t know about you, but I have sure wasted a lot of hours and days when I could be communing with Him. Praise the Lord He is so loving, and forgiving.

    May I ask you to do something for me on my birthday? Please? Would you spend a few minutes with the Lord today, and ask Him where you could be a better steward of your time? And when you say, “Amen,” just for fun, stay on your knees until He lets you get up…you may find this as a new way of being a good steward of your time.
    I’m getting ready to pray right now before I send this, and I think that I will do what I’ve asked you to do, stay on my knees till He releases me to get up.

    Blessing my friends, and Happy Birthday from me, to you.

    Mark S Mirza
    Common Thread Ministries

  • Memorizing Scripture in Other Languages July 25, 2013

    2013-0724-cloudsI recently reposted a memory verse in Spanish, Romans 12:12, or Romanos 12:12.

     

    If you follow my FB pages you see that periodically I will post a verse that I have memorized.

    Please note that besides trying to learn another language, there is a VERY practical reason for memorizing in another language, and that is, how much “bigger” the verse appears because words translate differently. Maybe a better way to say this is that when words are translated into another language, their translation can add greater “depth” to the word that you are used to. I’ll never forget T. W. Hunt’s words at a prayer conference a few years ago, he said, “I always learn more about God, when I learn a new language.”

    Let me give you an example from Romanos 12:12:

    Here’s the verse in Spanish:

    gozosos en la esperanza; sufridos en la tribulación; constantes en la oración;
    From <https://www.bible.com/bible/149/rom.12.12.rvr60>

    And here is the verse in English:

    Rejoicing in hope; patient* in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
    From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1/rom.12.12.kjv>

    Let’s look at just one word…sufridos, or patient. If you look up “sufridos” in a Spanish dictionary you find the word “suffered.” Now, try to be as honest as you can here…When you think of the word “patient,” does it “feel” the same as “suffered?” Probably not. When I think of patient, I think of impatient, I think of, usually, a boring time waiting. When I think of the word suffered, or suffering and combine that with patient, I recognize that my time of waiting (in the context of this verse) in tribulation, prepares me for an expectation of suffering.

    I may not like the idea of suffering, but there is something about being prepared for it that allows me to come to the Lord and rejoice in the hope that the Lord and I are talking about it, and, since nothing in my life “catches God by surprise,” in fact, I recognize that He has allowed into my life la tribulación, I can submit to Him, and I get a sense of Him allowing me, (by giving me the grace and holding me up), to suffer patiently in my tribulation.

    So periodically memorize a scripture in another language. And hey, maybe consider viewing differently la tribulación, that the Lord, already knows, is in your life.

    Finally, consider joining our FB Group. I will do my best to populate this page more often than I have. And I encourage you to do the same…add to this FB page, the verses that you have just memorized.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/CTMPrayerScriptureMemory/

     

    Blessings my friends,

    *Please note that while most versions translate the word as “patient” a few translate is Persevering, Endure, Bravely

    Common Thread Ministries

  • Praising God Amidst Brokenness July 15, 2013

    Taken From2013-0715-Brokenness
    A Prayer of Paul’s
    That We Often Miss

    The HCSB calls it
    A Hymn of Praise
    and it is found in
    Romans 11:33-36

    http://bible.us/Rom11.33-36.nasb

    “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

    Paul has just spent the previous 3 chapters, 86 verses, discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.

    • APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…for your loved ones, for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin, that you let get out of hand, that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about?
    • Pray Paul’s prayer with me, applying it and using our own words where appropriate… Father, the depth of Your riches, of Your wisdom, and of Your knowledge…Oh Lord they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. And yet, it is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need others to give You “advice”  as they pray, for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to think You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You do ALL things, and they are all done for Your glory, Amen.

    Common Thread Ministries

     

  • When is Worry Like Fasting? July 11, 2013

    PrayerBox-2013-0217-cropped-webDPI.jpg
    I was up early this morning talking to the Lord about upcoming events and then wrote the following to the Lord, about 3:00 am, I said, “Lord, I want a new memory verse, but I think that I will go back to those I have already memorized.”

    And in looking for that memory verse I came across Matthew 6:34, but then I thought about Matthew 6:33-34, and then I started looking back further and further, for foundational context.

    The more I looked back into the passage, the more I saw how Christ was using His previous words to lay the foundation for what He was going to say about worry…and then I saw it, the connection between fasting and worry…and not a “good” connection.

    At the time of this writing, in my notes, I still didn’t know what I’m going to memorize, but I loved seeing this truth from the Sermon on the Mount.

    If you want to read it ALL in context, go to Matthew 6:16-34 and read it in the NASB. It’ll take a few minutes, but it is worth it. Here are my notes from this morning:

    • I don’t think I ever noticed this before, but in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discusses fasting, to set up His discussion about worry. He describes the person fasting, and fasting in a way that gets “their reward here on earth” (Matthew 6:16), their “treasure.” He is talking about the Pharisees who liked everyone to see their sorrow, like, unfortunately, so many people today, who give their prayer requests, for the purpose of allowing others to see their sorrow. The are, forgive me, simply having a gloomy pity party!
    • As I think about it, I realize that often, no, OFTEN, people share their prayer requests in a way that “demonstrates” to themselves (and they think to others), that they have a right to worry about their situation
    • I suppose one’s motivation (and only they can deal with that) gives away whether or not they are seeking accuracy in prayer, or if they just want everyone to know every detail of their problem. In this case, their motivation is “getting their reward here on earth” which, is no different than that Pharisee. Jesus then directly compares this action, gaining pity, as storing up an earthly treasure (Matthew 6:19).
    • Jesus then goes on to talk about the reasons we do not have to worry. You can read all of the reasons you don’t have to worry (Matthew 6:20-32), and in reality, you will see that you already know them.
    • But here’s the key, verse 33, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…It’s counter intuitive isn’t it? Jesus is saying that instead of worrying about this which you are praying about, instead of focusing on that “terrible” prayer request, we are to focus on, seeking His kingdom, and His righteousness. It truly is counter intuitive.
    • What is Jesus saying? Simply this, take the focus off yourself! And THEN He says in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    Wow, you know what? Because He is sovereign, because His throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19), I really don’t have to worry, do I? And neither do you my friend.

    I need to make two notes here:

    1. I am not saying that church isn’t where we are to bring our prayer requests, or that we are not to sorrow, especially in church. This IS one of the GREAT characteristics of church…just check your motivation.
    2. Don’t judge! You may hear one’s prayer request and label them a Pharisee. You can’t do that, rather, help them, encourage them, cry with them, as Jesus did in John 11:35 just a few verses before He brought Lazarus back to life.

    Common Thread Ministries

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